Nutritionist Lucy Hyland

Food and Cancer Prevention

October 8, 2023
Posted by Lucy

Thursday 7th October

Check out my article today in the Cork Independence on cancer prevention and diet, in aid of breast cancer cancer awareness:

Many of the world’s cancer associations and organisations list diet and food as one of their top key fighters in terms of cancer. There has been large amount of research published on just how beneficial certain foods can be in terms of cancer prevention and survival. Not only are certain ingredients actually linked to cancer prevention, but generally those who look after their diets tend to lose weight, another major cancer fighter.

One of the interesting things about cancer prevention and food is that it is not just the ingredients that are important to health, but also the way these foods are prepared. Char grilling, cooking at high temperatures and processing foods, for example, smoking can increase the number of carcinogens or cancer exacerbating substances.

And then there are the key ingredients to remember. Probably the super heroes of cancer prevention are fresh fruits and vegetables, containing high levels of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients (i.e. even more powerful anti-oxidants) which act as defenders of cells and organs against attack. Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage which grow so well here in Ireland, are especially linked with hormonal cancers and with helping the body to detox potentially dangerous substances.

The organic debate does also come into play with cancer prevention where it has been shown that organic fruits and vegetables are higher in phytonutrients than non organic. For this reason, I tend to recommend more organic produce for cancer prevention and recovery than I would other groups.

Another issue is that of fats. Try to avoid poor quality fats such as hydrogenated fats and trans fats and also ensure fats are not cooked at the high temperatures such as char grilling and frying. Fat consumed should be of good quality, for example, Omega 3 fats from fish and good quality nuts (not peanut) and seeds (especially flax/linseed).

In addition, there has been quite a bit of research done into the link between pollutants and chemicals and cancer and so I would try to get as chemical free as possible. Try to buy cleaning agents with as little chemicals in them as possible (the environmental ones are a good start). Filter your water. Avoid plastics as much as possible as contain a substance called BPA which has oestrogenic like properties - the ones I’m most concerned with are plastic bottles (try to buy hard plastic water bottles) and containers (never microwave with plastic).

For a more tailored approach to a cancer prevention and recovery through nutrition, contact Lucy at or

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